|Bluebirds Enter CovCath Battle with Momentum|
|PHOTO: Ed Harber. Highlands sophomore defensive back Aiden Nevels gets in position in the second half against Boone County.|
There is not time to put up consecutive shutouts than in the first two district games.
Highlands followed up a 36-0 blanking of Conner a week ago with a convincing 43-0 win over Boone County at David Cecil Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Things were a major question mark entering the Conner game. But after the win in Hebron, people expected Highlands to roll to another running clock win against the Rebels and the hosts did not disappoint. Conner had beaten Boone County, 40-0 on Sept. 25.
It may never have been in question. But Highlands clinched a playoff spot with the win against Boone County. The Bluebirds are in position to play host to one playoff game or two. But they have to earn them starting with the game on Friday in Park Hills against the Covington Catholic Colonels (4-0). Both teams are 2-0 in district play. Conner is 2-1 after a 27-20 win over Cooper on Friday in Union.
Cooper is 0-2 in district play and Boone County finds itself in danger of missing the playoffs again at 0-3. Boone County and Cooper face off this Friday searching for the first district win of the season.
Highlands finds itself in a much better position than a year ago. The Bluebirds lost 20-17 to Conner in Fort Thomas and would up losing 13-0 to eventual state champion Covington Catholic two weeks later. Highlands then barely held on to beat Cooper, 14-7 in Union to earn the trip to Conner in the first round of the playoffs. The Cougars ended the Highlands season, 38-28 in the first round of the playoffs last year.
Highlands Head Coach Brian Weinrich has been saying the team alignment is better this year. The Bluebirds took lumps in the first three games with the unusual season with no scrimmages and a three-week delay as a result of Coronavirus 2019, but has found an identity the last two games.
"The guys come every day with such great attitudes," Weinrich said. "It is so much fun coming to practice every single day and when you come to work and you have fun, it's not work. You get better at what you're doing. You enjoy it while you're doing it. Then when you finally get to come out here with your uniform on, people in the stands and they turn the scoreboard on for real, now they're starting to understand how to translate that. They're just having fun making plays. We're so proud of them because they're having fun watching their buddies make plays and they're having fun helping their buddies make plays."
The KHSAA recently decided to pit teams in the same district against each other in the first two rounds. But Highlands will have games against Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller and Campbell County in between the final district game against Cooper and the first round of the playoffs. As a result, Highlands will not face the same team less than three weeks apart.
Moeller won its first-round playoff game over Hamilton, 43-27 in Division I, Region 4. But the Crusaders (2-5) will have to make it to the region championship game on Oct. 30 in order for it to interfere with the game at Highlands. Moeller plays at Greater Catholic League South rival St. Xavier on Friday. St. Xavier beat Moeller, 43-14 on Sept. 25.
Teams in Ohio played six games in the regular season before every team made the playoffs. Once eliminated, teams can play regular season games through Nov. 14. Ohio elected to finish the state championships by Nov. 21.
Campbell County is 2-3 on the season having already picked up one more win than last year's 1-10 campaign. The Camels edged defending Class 1A champion Pikeville, 14-8 in Alexandria on Oct. 2.
Series against Boone County:
The Bluebirds have won all six meetings since the two started playing again on a regular basis in 2015 after a four-year hiatus. Highlands is 40-3 against the Rebels. Boone County last beat Highlands, 14-8 in 1979.
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